Anakreontos kai allōn tinōn lyrikōn poiētōn melē (with) Anacreontis teii antiquissimi poëtae Lyrici odae (with) Peri psychas kosmō kai physios (with) De syntaxi partium orationis apud Graecos liber (with)  De legibus populi Romani liber (and)  Phalaridis agrigentinorum tyranni epistolae doctissimae.

I) and II) Paris, apud Robertum Stephanum & Guil. Morelium, 1556; III) Paris, apud Guil. Morelium, 1555; IV) Paris, apud Guil. Morelium, 1556; V) Basel, Nikolaus II Episcopius, 1557; VI) Basel, Johann Oporinus, [1558].


8vo. 6 works in 1, separate t-p to each. I) FIRST EDITION, 2 parts in 1, pp. 122 (ii); II) pp. 54 (ii); III) FIRST EDITION, pp. 31 (i); IV) pp. 64; V) FIRST EDITION, pp. (xvi) 85 (iii); VI) FIRST EDITION, pp. 253 (iii). Italic letter, with Greek and Roman. Woodcut printer’s device to five t-ps, sometimes to last, decorated initials and headpieces. A few ll. very lightly browned, first t-p a little dusty, the odd thumb mark, minimal marginal foxing to first gathering of III, occasional light dampstaining to IV, very faint waterstaining to upper margins and scattered ink spots touching a few letters to last three gatherings of VI. Very good, clean copies in contemporary limp vellum, yapp edges, traces of ties, spine lined with early C16 vellum ms. (a theological oration), C19 bibliographic inscription and modern bookplate to front pastedown, casemark and contemporary Latin verse inked on fly, two early Latin verse inscriptions in different hands to final eps, early annotation in different hands to eps and text.

Very good copies of these classical texts with a few annotations by a contemporary student. The first four were printed in the magnificent ‘Royal Greek type’ designed by Garamond for Robert Estienne, the King’s Printer in Greek, and handed over to his successor, Guillaume Morel. I) Based on Henri Estienne’s editio princeps, ‘Anakreontos … melē’ features a florilegium of Greek poems (and their Latin translations) written by Anacreon—a 6th-century author—and other lyrical poets including Sappho, accompanied by philological commentary. This influential corpus of ‘Anacreontea’ derives from a C10 ms. and was later acknowledged to be mostly spurious. II) Sometimes found bound with I), ‘Anacreontis … odae’ provides Latin translations of the same poems, on lyrical topics including love and dreams, produced by the humanist Petrus Montaureus. Such texts were fundamental in French Renaissance culture; Anacreon’s verse proved to be excellent study material for Greek students and was translated from Latin into French by the poet Pierre Ronsard. III) This treatise on the nature of the world and the soul was ascribed to Timaeus of Locri, also a character in Plato’s namesake dialogue. In the C16, it was considered a prior version of Plato’s ‘Timaeus’ rather than a derivative; written in Doric Greek probably in the second century AD, it provided a clear summary of Timaeus’s arguments in the Platonic dialogue and was probably born as a student textbook in late antiquity, the same function it plays in this copy. IV) Georgius Fabricius’s terse, didactic work on Greek syntax summarises the grammatical rules of nouns, verbs, adverbs and prepositions through comparisons with Latin, with ‘caveats’ on the differences between prose and poetic language. V) ‘De legibus’ may seem an unexpected find in a student’s book, being a schematic index of Roman laws spanning adultery, rape, parricide and agriculture, identified through the names of the ruling family under which they were approved. It was probably deemed relevant in that most entries bear double-references to works by the likes of Livy, Cicero and Plutarch, where each law was mentioned. VI) ‘Epistolae doctissimae’ was attributed to Phalaris, tyrant of Agrigento in the sixth century BC. Albeit famously ruthless, known for his cannibalism and for roasting his enemies alive inside a brazen bull, by the sixteenth century he was identified as the humane and learned author of these short moral narratives focused on exemplary historical figures like the poet Stesichorus and the Spartan admiral Eteonicus. Among the early annotation in different hands are a few poetic lines from Augustinus Huens’s ‘Dialectica’ (1555), a Renaissance rhetoric manual based on Aristotelian logic.

I) USTC 151942; Rénouard 161:1; Brunet I, 250; BM STC Fr., p. 16; Dibdin I, 259. Not in Légrand.

II) USTC 154736; Rénouard 161:1; Brunet I, 250.

III) Only Princeton, Folger, Newberry and BYU copies recorded in the US.

USTC 160443; Brunet V, 861: ‘Édition peu commune, et qui est peut-être antérieure à celle qui a paru à Venise, dans la même année’; BM STC Fr., p. 422. Not in Légrand.

IV) Only UNC, Illinois at UC and Iowa copies recorded in the US.

USTC 197964; BM STC Fr., p. 160. Not in Brunet, Graesse or Adams.

V) USTC 630333. Not in Brunet or Graesse.

VI) USTC 683744; Brunet IV, 592. Not in Légrand or Dibdin.


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